Tireless Work Ethic Defines A's New Pitching Coordinator

OAKLAND—When farm director Keith Lieppman talks about his new pitching coordinator, the words "energy" and "enthusiasm" are a big part of the conversation.

"He's got a boundless amount of energy. He never tires from instructing the game," Lieppman said of Scott Emerson, 40, whom he named as the new mound leader for the Athletics. Emerson replaces Gil Patterson, who moved to the Yankees to take the position as director of pitching.

"When I called (Emerson) to ask him if he wanted to be pitching coordinator, he said he had been putting things together for 13 years, because he had a vision of how he wanted to do the job," Lieppman said. "He is tireless. On any given day, I could call him and he would be working on something. It might be in the middle of winter, and he's watching a winter league game on the internet."

Emerson admits to the accusation.

"My wife one time said that I love baseball more than I loved her. I told her, 'yeah, but I love you more than basketball,' " he joked.

Emerson may be the ultimate baseball rat, living a life centered on the game and conceiving ideas how to develop his young charges. Even wife Jill has a baseball connection. Scott met her at the wedding of his close friend Trot Nixon when both were toiling in the Red Sox organization.

Emerson grew up in the Phoenix area and was a 40th-round pick out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC in 1991 by the Orioles. He pitched in the minors for the O's and Red Sox through the 1998 season before retiring and becoming a coach in the Pirates organization. "The Pirates cleaned house on everybody and decided not to renew my contract," he said.

There was an opening with Oakland, where Ron Romanick then served as pitching coordinator. "I got an interview with (Romanick), and that was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. It was a blessing in disguise."

Emerson started at high Class A in 2004, then moved through the A's system to Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento before moving into his new role. Patterson believes Emerson will succeed at his new job.

" 'Cause I'm going to call him every day," Patterson laughed. "He and I were on the same page with everything. He'll bring in new and fresh ideas and continue the foundation that's been there."

Emerson said he particularly wants to employ new technology that gives pitchers quick access to video and as many other modern tools as possible.

A's Acorns

• Darren Bush will take over as bullpen coach for the big league club next season. Bush managed Triple-A Sacramento the last two seasons. He will be replaced by Steve Scarsone, who managed at Double-A.

• Infielders Chad Lewis and Dusty Robinson will spend three weeks working at the A's instructional league program in the Dominican Republic. The A's want the two players to get more field time, plus the exposure to a different culture.